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A Rotating Lineup of TV Top Chefs Rumored to Be Planned for Restaurant Central 214


Even before the sudden resignation of Central 214’s “Naughty Chef” Blythe Beck yesterday, the restaurant’s owners are said to have been rethinking 214’s concept and are thought to have settled on a direction: Instead of Beck, 214 might use a rotating roster of former Top Chef contestants to run the kitchen at Central 214 for several months at at time. But even if another direction is chosen, Palomar planned to change 214’s concept and chefs beginning in March, 2012, so Beck’s sudden departure may have altered the plan.

Negotiations with the company that produces Bravo Network’s Top Chef are rumored to be well underway, says an EscapeHatch friend with knowledge of the situation. “It’ll be sort of an extended 48 Nights,” the pop-up restaurant at Sylvan/30 that featured a different chef at the helm each weekend and operated for a total of 48 nights (plus a final gala).

Calls to Hotel Palomar’s PR spokeswomen went unreturned.

I think this would never work. What kitchen staff wants to answer to a different executive kook every few months? And unless the Kimpton Group, which owns the Palomar, plans to roll out the same concept at several of their hotels, what chef wants to set up shop for only six to nine months at a time.

Do you see this as a viable plan– or a death wish?

Update: After this post went live, I received this email response from Francis Kieffer, Central 214’s General Manager, via their publicist:

“It will certainly be a challenge to fill Chef Blythe Beck’s shoes in our kitchen — especially those famous pink high tops — however, we are preparing for her departure next month and will be undergoing a chef search for her replacement. With that comes the expected opportunity to explore some new options for the restaurant, but concepts are simply concepts at this point. We’ll be sure to keep you and our diners posted on any upcoming news. In the meantime, we encourage folks to come in and enjoy Chef Blythe’s cooking and charm.”

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